Fixing Wellington’s infrastructure deficit should be top of Government’s to-do list
The Government’s call for infrastructure projects that are ‘ready to go’ is welcome news for Wellington, given the stalled progress to date of ‘Let’s Get Wellington Moving’, says the Wellington Chamber of Commerce.
"The whole ‘Let’s Get Wellington Moving’ package should be at the top of the Government’s list," says John Milford, Wellington Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive.
"Wellington has been crying out for transport infrastructure investment for the past decade. What better time than now for the Government to finally put forward investment into the capital city?
"While the rest of the country has benefited from the Provincial Growth Fund, the Wellington region has been excluded. And while Auckland and Canterbury have both had significant investment, Wellington’s gone without.
"Wellington City has some of the oldest water pipes in the country, a Civic Square which is now derelict, vulnerable buildings, and transport corridors that are gridlocked. There are several other regional projects, such as Petone to Grenada, that should be included on the list as well.
"It is becoming clearer by the day that Wellington City Council does not have the financial capacity to make such significant investments. Wellington City is now looking at a $60 million fiscal shortfall, and that’s just the start.
"When it comes to ‘Let’s Get Wellington Moving’, we’ve been concerned for some time about the funding split between Central and Local Government. What is currently proposed actually shifts more costs unfairly onto Local Government, and onto ratepayers who right now can’t afford any rates increases.
"Right now we have businesses who are making tough decisions, businesses trying to do whatever they can to keep their staff employed while others are forced to close. Wellington businesses pay nearly half the total rate-take, and pay the highest proportion of rates in the country. Wellington businesses can’t afford more costs right now.
"In our recent business confidence survey, respondents were surveyed about Wellington’s infrastructure priorities, and asked business to rank eleven Wellington infrastructure projects from most important to least important. They told us Wellington needs an improved public transport & mass transit system, a second Mt. Vic Tunnel, and a sewage, stormwater and water system that works.
"All three projects desperately need funding, and the projects are desperately needed by Wellington.
Wellington Regional Chambers of Commerce & Business Central business confidence survey completed in March, respondents were surveyed about Wellington’s infrastructure priorities and how to fund these projects. The survey received 437 responses in total and ran for a 15-day period in March.